The King-Crane Commission Report
August 28, 1919
I. THE REPORT UPON SYRIA
III-Specific Requests as Given in the Tables:
1. The largest percentage for any one request is that of 1,500 petitions (80.4 per cent) for United Syria, including Cilicia, the Syrian Desert, and Palestine. The boundaries of this area are usually defined as "The Taurus Mountains on the north- the Euphrates and Khabur Rivers, and the line extending east of Abu Kamal to the east of Al Juf on the east; Rafa and the line running from Al Juf to the south of Akaba on the south, and the Mediterranean Sea on the West." In addition to being the first plank of the Damascus program, a United Syria received strong support from many Christians in all the O. E. T. As., as the number of petitions indicates.
2. In opposition to Syrian Unity, six of the nineteen pro-zionist petitions ask for a separate Palestine, and presumably it is implied in the others.
3. In addition, two Christian groups in Palestine asked for a separate Palestine under the British, in preference to a United Syria under the French.
4. Twenty-four petitions, chiefly from Christian sources in O. E. T. A. South, asked for an autonomous Palestine within the Syrian State. For many other delegations this was doubtless implied in the general request for independence and a non-centralized government.
5. In opposition also to a United Syria are the 203 petitions (16.9 per cent) asking for an independent Greater Lebanon. One hundred and ninety-six of these came from Lebanon and 139 are copies of the French-Lebanon program.
6. The request for a United Syria is made even more emphatic by the 1,062 protests against an Independent Greater Lebanon. These include the Damascus program petitions and some from Protestant and other Christian sources in Lebanon.
7. Thirty-three Lebanese delegations representing both Moslems and Christians, fearing the economic future of a separate Lebanon, asked for autonomy within a Syrian State. Others also regarded autonomy as implied in the request for independence and a non-centralized government.
8-9. The Valley of Bekaa is usually regarded as an integral part of Greater Lebanon. Eleven petitions, however make especial reference to its inclusion, while eight ask that the Valley remain in the Damascus area.
10-ll. Similarly, while Cilicia is definitely included in the demand for a United Syria made by 1,500 petitions, two petitions asked specifically for it, while three requested that it be given to the Armenian State.
1. The second largest percentage of all, 1,370 (73.5 percent), is for "Absolute Independence," the second cardinal point of the Damascus program, supported generally by all Moslem delegations. It is certain from the oral statements that accompanied the petitions that the term "Absolute Independence" was seldom used in the sense of an entire freedom from any foreign guidance, such as that of a mandatory under the League of Nations, inasmuch as the request was frequently combined with a choice of mandate, and in all but a few cases with either a choice of mandate or a request for foreign "assistance." While a few of the Young Arab clubs certainly desired freedom from all foreign control, the great majority asked for independence and defined a mandate to mean only economic and technical assistance, because of a widespread fear that the mandatory arrangement would be used to cloak colonial annexation.
2-3. Only a slightly smaller number, 1,278 (68.5 per cent), asked for the independence of Iraq, or Mesopotamia. To these should be added 93 of the 97 petitions for the independence of all Arab countries as in only four petitions do both requests appear, and the second includes the first. The phrasing "for all Arab countries" was first used in Palestine, and dropped for the special mention of Iraq in the Damascus program. A total of 1,371 petitions, therefore, asked for the independence and economic freedom of the Iraq regions.
C-Form of Government;
1-2. The establishment of a "democratic, non-centralized, constitutional" kingdom is one of the points of the Damascus program, as the number of petitions for it 1,107 (59.3 per cent), indicate. All but five of these petitions, also, ask that Emir Feisal be made the king. These petitions were especially numerous in O. E. T. A. East, where 1,005 of 1,157 request both a kingdom and the Emir as king. This part of the program had apparently not been developed when the commission was in Palestine, as only five of 260 O. E. T. A. South petitions referred to a kingdom, and only two mentioned Emir Feisal.
3. A request for a democratic representative government, presumably of a republican character, came to the commission from 26 Christian groups in O. E. T. A. West, and eight groups in O. E. T. A. East, a total of 34 (1.8 per cent) . This request was usually made in opposition to the Moslem idea of a Syrian kingdom under Feisal.
4. The request for proper safe-guarding of the rights of minorities included in the Damascus program was also made by many of the Christian groups in the Lebanon. The total is 1,023 (54.9 per cent)~ This request received a more united support from both Moslems and Christians than any other, except anti-Zionism.
5-6. Five requests for the retention of Arabic as the official language (rather than Hebrew) and ten requests for the abolition of foreign capitulations (officially annulled by the Turks, but without sanction of the Powers), came from scattered points in O. E. T. A. South.
7. Nineteen (1.02 per cent) petitions were received for the autonomy of all the provinces of Syria. This is in addition to the separate requests for autonomy of Lebanon and Palestine. Once more it should be said that many regarded a large measure of local autonomy as implicit in the general idea of a democratic. non-centralized government, but these nineteen groups made special reference to it.
D-Choice of Mandate:
With regard to choice of mandate, five classes of requests had to be distinguished, as shown in the tables. In addition to definite requests for a given nation as the mandatory power, a few groups gave their preference, "if a mandatory is obligatory," i. e., rather under protest, while the great majority asked for "assistance" rather than a mandatory, because of a misunderstanding, and the fear referred to above that a "mandate" is a convenient cloak for colonial aggression. Petitions of these three classes have therefore been grouped in the summary as "Total first choice." In addition preferences for second choice of mandate and "assistance" have been tabulated.
1. The total of the petitions asking for Great Britain as first choice is 66 (3.5 per cent). Forty-eight came from Palestine; 13 are from Greek Orthodox delegations, and four from the Druses. The second choice total is 1,073 (57.5 per cent), due to the 1032 requests for British "assistance" if America declined, in accordance with the Damascus program.
2. The French total for first choice is 274 (14.68 per cent), all but 59 of them from the Lebanon district. The second choice total is three.
3. The 1,064 requests for American "assistance " according to the Damascus program, with 57 selections of America as mandatory power, and eight more if a mandate is obligatory, make up the first choice total of 1,129 (60,5 per cent). The second choice total is 11.
4. Twenty-three petitions received at Jenin, Haifa, and Nazareth just before the Damascus program was adopted, left the choice of mandate to the Syrian Congress. This means, therefore, an additional 23 for American first choice and British second choice total.
1-2-3. The petitions favoring the Zionist program have been analyzed above in the discussion of programs. In opposition to these are the 1,350 (72.3 per cent) petitions protesting against Zionist claims and purposes. This is the third largest number for any one point and represents a more widespread general opinion among both Moslems and Christians than any other. The anti-Zionist note was especially strong in Palestine, where 222 (85.3 per cent) of the 260 petitions declared against the Zionist program. This is the largest percentage in the district for any one point.
I-THE AREA UNDER BRITISH
(O. E. T. A. SOUTH)
1. Narrative.-Owing to changes of plan at a late date, the commission arrived in Jaffa at a time when the British authorities were not expecting it, and the program followed there was arranged mainly without their help. The endeavor was made to ascertain the opinions and desires of every important group, sect, and organization, of a few well-informed representative individuals, and of significant minorities or sub-divisions, especially in cases where there seemed to be disposition, for any reason, to suppress these. Because of the numerous sub-divisions of the Christians and particularly of the Roman Catholics, it was inevitable that from the beginning the commission would give a disproportionate number of interviews and amount of time to them. The commissioners had prepared a statement of their purposes, to be found elsewhere in this report, which was read to important groups, and given to the press in lieu of interviews. Care was taken to make it clear, in response to frequent questioning, that the policy of the United States in regard to accepting a mandate anywhere was unformed and unpredictable, and that the commission had no power of decision. Automobiles were secured from the American Committee for Relief in the Near East, in order to be as little as possible dependent upon others than Americans. Word was given out that the commission would not accept general social invitations or consent to demonstrations.
On leaving Jaffa the commission stopped at two Jewish schools and took luncheon at the Hichon-le-Sion colony, where it met the chief men of several Jewish colonies, as well as the members of the central Zionist Commission.
A week was spent in Jerusalem, with two days out for visiting Bethlehem, Hebron, and Beersheba. A limited amount of hospitality was accepted in a quiet way from the British and French officials. In order that none might be offended the heads of the various religious groups were received, although some of them, as for instance the Copts and Abyssinians had little to say along the line of the inquiry
After leaving Jerusalem, a rapid journey was made through northern Palestine, delegations being received at Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin, Nazareth, Haifa and Acre. At most of these places groups came in, not only front the surrounding country, but from other administrative centers which it was impossible to visit.
2. THE ATTITUDE OF THE OCCUPYING GOVERNMENT.-The British officials, from Major General Sir Arthur Money, who was in command of O. E. T. A. South, down to the youngest officer, were courteous, obliging, and helpful. Most of them had had Indian, Egyptian, or Soudanese experience before the Great War. As a body they gave an impression of ability, efficiency, and a serious effort to administer the country for the good of the people.
It should be noted here that General Allenby detailed to accompany the commission as aid Lt. Col. J. K. Watson, who had served for years in a similar capacity with Lord Kitchener and later with the Khedive of Egypt. His thoughtfulness, kindness, and efficiency though the circumstances of travel were often trying, were unfailing, and the comfort, good health, and success in the investigation of the Commission were largely furthered by him.
3. Wishes of the People.-The Moslems constitute about four-fifths of the actual population of Palestine, according to a recent British census. Except for certain official groups they were practically unanimous for the independence of United Syria, and were responsive to the current political influences. The organizations met at Jaffa took the position that Syria is capable of self-government without a mandatory power, but if one should be insisted upon by the Peace Conference, they preferred the United States.
At Jerusalem, however, and in all other places in Palestine, the program of independence was affirmed. For the most part, the question of a mandate was referred, either in writing, or more often in response to questions, to the approaching Syrian Congress at Damascus, at which they would have representation. Some Moslems, especially in the South, maintained emphatically that they could accept no mandate whatever. It is evident that since the Damascus Congress later declared for American assistance, with the British as second choice, and emphatic refusal of the French,: this is the program to which the great majority of the Moslems of Palestine are committed. Probably most of them had it in mind when they declared for reference to Damascus.
The Christians of Palestine, who altogether constitute less than ten per cent of the population, showed more difference of opinion. Some groups in the north, as the Latin Catholics of Tiberias and Haifa and most of the Christians of Nazareth, were with the Moslems for independence and the reference to Damascus. Maronites and Greek Catholics, and usually the Latin Catholics, were for a French mandate. The Greek Orthodox everywhere, according to an agreed program, were for a British mandate, as were several scattering groups. None asked directly for the United States, though the opinion was expressed that if there were assurance that we would come if asked, most Christians would favor this solution. The Christians were in general strongly in favor of a mandatory power, which should exercise a real control. The Jews, who constitute a little more than ten per cent of the population, were all for Zionism, under a British mandate. The Moslem and Christian population was practically unanimous against Zionism, usually expressing themselves with great emphasis. This question was closely connected with that of the unity of all Syria under one Government.
4. Zionism.-The Jews of Palestine declared themselves unanimously in favor of the Zionistic scheme in general, though they showed difference of opinion in regard to the details and the process of its realization. The elements of agreement may be stated as follows:
(a) Palestine, with a fairly large area, to be set aside at once as a "national home" for the Jews.
(b) Sooner or later the political rule of the land will become organized as a "Jewish Commonwealth,"
(c) At the start authorization will be given for the free immigration of Jews from any part of the world; for the unrestricted purchase of land by the Jews, and for the recognition of Hebrew as an official language.
(d) Great Britain will be the mandatory power over Palestine, protecting the Jews and furthering the realization of the scheme.
(e) The Great Powers of the world have declared in favor of the scheme, which merely awaits execution.
Differences exist especially along two lines:
(a) Whether the Jewish Commonwealth should be set up soon or after a considerable lapse of time.
(b) Whether the chief emphasis should be upon a restoration of the ancient mode of life, ritual, exclusiveness and particularism of the Jews, or upon economic development in a thoroughly modern fashion, with afforestation, electrification of water-power, and general full utilization of resources.
5. The Custody of the Holy Places.-For four centuries the Turk has served as guardian of the peace between Moslems, Christians and Jews, and even between the different sects of each, in the Holy Land. Nor has his function been merely nominal: being really a foreigner and having upon himself the responsibility of government, he has on the whole well maintained the status quo, or policed slow and delicate changes in one direction or another. Now that his authority is gone, a substitute must be provided, whatever be the new regime. This might be the mandatory power. If, however, any Roman Catholic power should receive the mandate, trouble would arise from the fact than at present the Catholics feel unfairly treated and claim increase of privilege at the expense of the Greek Orthodox. A Catholic power would be tempted promptly to disturb the equilibrium, especially during the eclipse of the power of Russia.
There is already a "Custodian of the Holy Places" for the Roman Catholics. Might not this idea be extended to the constitution of a permanent Commission for the Holy Places, on which might be placed this man, and representatives of Greek Orthodox Christianity, Protestant Christianity, Sunnite Islam, Shiite Islam, and Judaism? The Commission might be given authority and means to guard and care for all the places in Palestine that are sacred to the three religions, and to adjudicate all disputes about their custody. Its composition should ensure conservatism and promote harmony.
1. The Commission reached Beirut after having visited Palestine and the southern half of the territory occupied by the Arab forces. Two days were spent in interviews in the city, and visits were paid by automobile to points from Tyre to Batrun. General Allenby was kind enough to place his yacht the "Maid of Honor" at the disposal of the Commission, and thus Tripoli, Alexandretta and Ladikiya were seen. Delegations were thus heard from every part of O. E. T A. West. Arrangements as to program, demonstrations, and the like, were in general maintained as in other areas. The French officials were at great pains to arrange suitably for the hearings of the Commission, and to provide for its comfort and well-being.
The women of the Moslem Trades School at Beirut had woven a rug for presentation to the Peace Conference, which is interesting as being a map, patterned so as to show the area claimed by Syrian Nationalists for United Syria.
2. Wishes of the People.-In general the situation was in accordance with that in Palestine and the Damascus area. With few exceptions the Moslems were for American or British assistance according to the "Damascus Program"; the Druses were for an English Mandate, the Maronites and all varieties of Catholics were for France. But the Greek Orthodox were divided, instead of standing for a British Mandate as usually in Palestine and Damascus. The Ismailians were mostly for France, and the Nusairiyeh were divided.
Those who stood for a French Mandate were of different opinions as regards the place and relationship of Lebanon in Syria. From Tyre to Tripoli they mostly followed a rigid formula which calls for a Greater Lebanon, absolutely independent of the rest of Syria, and under France; the supporters of this view showed no response to the idea of Syrian national unity, and apparently wish to become French citizens at an early moment.
Others desire the unity of Syria under the French Mandate, preferring ordinarily that the Lebanon District should be enlarged and given a high degree of autonomy.
In the Lebanon proper the majority is probably sincerely for a French, as opposed to a British mandate. The Commission could not inquire whether those who declared for France were well disposed toward an American Mandate, in case this were possible and a French Mandate for any reason undesirable; but there were a number of emphatic assurances that the great majority of the population, including even the Maronites, prefers America to any other; this is said to be based upon America's unselfish part in the war, her generosity before and after the armistice, and the personal relationships established by the large number of Lebanese who have gone to live for shorter or longer periods in the United States and to return home loyal.
The Druses ask emphatically to be left out of the Lebanon in case it be given to France,
But outside the Lebanon proper, in the areas which it is proposed to include in the "Greater Lebanon," such as Tyre, Sidon, "Hollow Syria," and Tripoli, a distinct majority of the people is probably averse to French rule. This includes practically all the Sunnite Moslems, most of the Shiites, a part of the Greek Orthodox Christians, and the small group of Protestants. Most of these ask earnestly for America, with Britain as second choice; the balance for Britain with America as second choice.
In the rest of the O.E.T.A. West, north of the proposed Greater Lebanon, the majority is probably against a French Mandate in any circumstances. A considerable proportion of the remainder are averse to a separation from the interior of the country, and place the unity of Syria above their preference for France.
It is worthy of note that whereas the Syrian nationalists everywhere distinctly and by name rejected the assistance of France, no one who supported France declared for a specific rejection of England or America. In a number of instances, however, the fear was expressed by Christians that England, if made the mandatory power, would show more favor to Moslems than to Christians.
3. The Lebanon.---The mountainous area set off in 1861 to be under the nominal protection of six European powers, with a Christian governor, has been a particular interest of France ever since. The population is largely Maronite and Roman Catholic. As in the case of all regions that have been removed from the direct jurisdiction of the Porte, progress has been comparatively rapid; roads have been built, trees planted, and a large number of stone houses erected. Money earned in America has helped greatly in these improvements. The Maronite ecclesiastical and monastic organizations have increased greatly in wealth in these years
The Lebanon has been freed from the burden of military service, and taxes have consequently been light. The area has been predominantly Christian and the Christians have enjoyed rather more than their proportion of the offices. Druses on the other hand have shown a tendency to emigrate to join their brethren in the Hauran, and they resent the inequalities of treatment to which they have been subjected.
The French policy of "colonization" shows its fruits in many inhabitants of this area, as well as of Beirut and other parts of Syria, who feel that they know French better than Arabic, and who are apt to hold themselves as of a distinctly higher order of civilization than the people of the interior. It is among these that the idea of a complete political separation of the Lebanese area from the rest of Syria has taken root.
The propinquity of this area led the Turkish government to be lenient and favorable to Christians and others in adjacent regions, so that no very sharp line of difference of prosperity is visible. Nevertheless the appeal of lighter taxes and military service, greater security and opportunities for office-holding has an effect upon Christians in neighboring areas, so that many of them incline toward a Greater Lebanon under a permanent French mandate. But there is a considerable party, even among the pro-French, who are opposed to becoming a part of France. This is in fact the official Maronite position.
Any revision of the situation should not diminish the security of the inhabitants of the Lebanon, but should raise the rest of Syria to a like security. This can be provided for in a United Syria by a sufficient measure of local autonomy. Care should be taken to avoid leaving this portion of the country in a position of perpetual special privilege, in which the common burdens would rest more heavily on other areas.
1. The Commission spent nine days in Damascus, six of which were filled up with interviews, held with representatives of religious and political groups, councils and boards of the Government, and prominent officials and other notable persons of every grade, including even the Emir Feisal and General Allenby. More time was spent here than anywhere else in Syria, because Damascus will he the capital of United Syria, if such be created, and an Arab government over O. E. T. A. East is already in operation there, showing much activity and endeavoring by accomplishment, display, and intrigue to prepare the way for the larger unity. During the Commission's visit, the "Syrian Congress" met, whose charter and program are described below. The bazars were placarded with the signs "We want absolute independence," and these were removed by government orders. The interview of the Commission with the Mufti, Radi, and Ulema was published with considerable accuracy in the local newspapers (of course by no act or permission of the Commission) and this gave rise to animated discussions on the part of the people and the press. The Commission accepted hospitality from the Emir Feisal on two occasions.
In the midst of the stay in Damascus a trip was taken southward to Amman and Deraa for the purpose of conferring with people from the edge of the desert. The note received from all Moslems was for complete independence without protection or a mandatory power; but recognizing that they need financial and economic advice, they proposed after the recognition of independence to ask advisers from America. Eloquent Arab orators appealed to America, as having freed them, to uphold their independence before the Peace Conference, saying that they hold our country responsible before God for completing the work we have begun. The Christians, who are few in these areas, were in great fear. They desire that a strong mandatory power be appointed over Syria, so that they may have full protection; they prefer that Britain be that power, and that the area be annexed to and governed with Palestine.
After leaving Damascus, a day was spent at Baalbek, where was encountered first the struggle for and against annexing "Hollow Syria" (known as the Bekaa) to the Greater Lebanon. After ten days in O. E. T. A. West, the Arab area was entered again by the road from Tripoli to Homs. Delegations were heard at Homs and Hama, after which three days were spent in Aleppo. Besides hearing delegations of all important Allepine groups and opinions, visits were paid to the centers of relief for refugee Armenians.
The claim for the independence of Mesopotamia was presented very vigorously in the north. Certain groups at Aleppo were much interested, however, in pushing the boundary of Syria well to the east, so as to include the Syrian desert.
2. Attitude of the Occupying Government. -The higher Arab officials include a number of men of dignity, ability, intelligence, and apparent honesty and patriotism. Practically all are Syrian born. Some of them, as General Haddad Pasha, chief of police and gendarmerie, and Said Pasha Zoucair, financial adviser, have been trained under British Administration in Egypt, and others, as Col. Yussef Bey, aide-de-camp of the Emir Feisal, General Jaafar Pasha, Military Governor of Aleppo, and Ihsan Allah Djabri, Mayor of Aleppo, have had their education and experience in the Turkish service. Most of the lower officials in this area (as well as in the other O. E. T. A. regions) have simply been continued from the Turkish regime, and in many cases are said to practice extortions and malversations much as under the former Government.
Every effort was made to do honor to the Commission and execute its wishes. Sometimes ostentatious attempts were made to give the impression of absolute non-interference with freedom of access to an expression before the Commission.
3. Wishes of the People.- The declarations in O. E. T. A. East were much nearer to unanimity than in the South or the West, as may be seen by a glance at the Tables of "Petition Summaries." The greater part of the declarations both oral and written. conformed to the resolutions of the Syrian Congress at Damascus, which is discussed separately below. This program was reached by the action of conflicting forces, in the presence of a general feeling that it was overwhelmingly important for reasons of national safety to reach unity of expression. The pressure brought to bear by the Government and the different political parties was of undoubted weight in bringing into line opinions of a more extreme sort, such as those in favor of independence in the highest degree and those which called for a perpetual strong mandatory control. But on the whole there can be no doubt that the main elements of this program represent the popular will as nearly as that can be expressed in any country.
The people of the area declared themselves almost unanimously for United Syria, for its complete independence, and against any help from France, and against the Zionist program. The Moslems were in nearly unanimous agreement upon a request for American assistance. The Jews asked for autonomy for themselves, and the Zionist scheme for their brethren in Palestine. The Druses were for the Arab Government under a British mandate. The Christians were divided, partly by sects and partly by geographical location. All of the few Christians in the south, including Latin Catholics were for a British mandate, with America in case for any reason Britain cannot come. So also were the Greek Orthodox of Damascus and a portion of the Greek Orthodox farther north. The small groups of Protestants were for an Anglo-Saxon mandate, some preferring America and some Britain. The Orthodox Syrians were for America. All the Catholics (except at Amman and Deraa) and the Maronites were for France. Nearly all of the Christians were for a strong mandatory control.
4. The Syrian Congress at Damascus.- From the time of reaching Jerusalem, the Commission began to be told of a congress that was in preparation, to be held soon at Damascus, which would for a large part of the population determine the question of a mandate. Sessions were held while the Commission was at Damascus, and on the last day there, a deputation presented to the Commission the program that had been prepared.
The Congress was not elected directly by the people, or by a fresh appeal to the people, the reason given being that time was lacking to revise the voting lists and carry through a new scheme. At the last Turkish election, before the war, electors were chosen to select deputies for the Turkish parliament. The survivors of these electors chose the members of the Damascus Congress. Criticisms were made against the plan of choice to the effect that it was unconstitutional and extra-constitutional, that the electors had mostly belonged to the Party of Union and Progress, and that the members of the Congress were not distributed in proportion to population. Sixty-nine members attended, and about 20 others from the west and north had been elected, but bad not arrived. There were a number of Christians in the Conference, but no Jews, though some Jews among the electors were said to have given their approval. Much evidence goes to show that the program prepared represents well the wishes of the people of Syria. The program is as follows:
"We, the undersigned, members of the General Syrian Congress, meeting in Damascus on Wednesday, July 2, 1919, made up of representatives from the three Zones, viz., the Southern, Eastern, and Western, provided with credentials and authorizations by the inhabitants of our various districts, Moslems, Christians, and Jews, have agreed upon the following statement of the desires of the people of the country who have elected us to present them to the American Section of the International Commission; the fifth article was passed by a very large majority; all the other articles were accepted unanimously.
"1. We ask absolutely complete political independence for Syria within these boundaries. The Taurus System on the North; Rafeh and a line running from Al-Juf to the south of the Syrian and the Mejazian line to Akaba on the south; the Euphrates and Khabur Rivers and a line extending east of Abu Kamal to the east of Al-Juf on the east; and the Mediterranean on the west
"2. We ask that the Government of this Syrian country should be a democratic civil constitutional Monarchy on broad decentralization principles, safeguarding the rights of minorities, and that the King be the Emir Feisal who carried on a glorious struggle in the cause of our liberation and merited our full confidence and entire reliance.
"3 Considering the fact that the Arabs inhabiting the Syrian area are not naturally less gifted than other more advanced races and that; they are by no means less developed than the Bulgarians, Serbians, Greeks, and Roumanians at the beginning of their independence, we protest against Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, placing us among the nations in their middle stage of development which stand in need of a mandatory power.
"4. In the event of the rejection by the Peace Conference of this just protest for certain considerations that we may not understand, we, relying on the declarations of President Wilson that his object in waging war was to put an end to the ambition of conquest and colonization, can only regard the mandate mentioned in the Covenant of the League of Nations as equivalent to the rendering of economical and technical assistance that does not prejudice our complete independence. And desiring that our country should not fall a prey to colonization and believing that the American Nation is farthest from any thought of colonization and has no political ambition in our country, we will seek the technical and economic assistance from the United States of America, provided that such assistance does not exceed twenty years.
"5. In the event of America not finding herself in a position to accept our desire for assistance we will seek this assistance from Great Britain, also provided that such assistance does not infringe the complete independence and unity of our country, and that the duration of such assistance does not exceed that mentioned in the previous article.
"6. We do not acknowledge any right claimed by the French Government in any part whatever of our Syrian country and refuse that she should assist us or have a hand in our country under any circumstances and in any place.
"7. We oppose the pretentions of the Zionists to create a Jewish commonwealth in the southern part of Syria, known as Palestine, and oppose Zionist migration to any part of our country; for we do not acknowledge their title, but consider them a grave peril to our people from the national, economical, and political points of view. Our Jewish compatriots shall enjoy our common rights and assume the common responsibilities.
"8. We ask that there should be no separation of the southern part of Syria, known as Palestine, nor of the littoral western zone which includes Lebanon, from the Syrian country. We desire that the unity of the country should be guaranteed against partition under whatever circumstances.
"9. We ask complete independence for emancipated Mesopotamia and that there should be no economical barriers between the two countries.
"10. The fundamental principles laid down by President Wilson in condemnation of secret treaties impel us to protest most emphatically against any treaty that stipulates the partition of our Syrian country and against any private engagement aiming at the establishment of Zionism in the southern part of Syria, therefore we ask the complete annulment of these conventions and agreements.
"The noble principles enunciated by President Wilson strengthen our confidence that our desires emanating from the depths of our hearts, shall be the decisive factor in determining our future; and that President Wilson and the free American people will be supporters for the realization of our hopes, thereby proving their sincerity and noble sympathy with the aspiration of the weaker nations in general and our Arab people in particular.
"We also have the fullest confidence that the Peace Conference will realize that we would not have risen against the Turks, with whom we had participated in all civil, political, and representative privileges, but for their violation of our national rights, and so will grant us our desires in full in order that our political rights may not be less after the war than they were before, since we have shed so much blood in the cause of our liberty and independence.
"We request to he allowed to send a delegation to represent us at the Peace Conference to defend our rights and secure the realization of our aspirations."
The program mostly speaks sufficiently for itself. Various points in it are commented upon elsewhere in this report. It is the most substantial document presented to the Commission, and deserves to be treated with great respect. The result of an extensive and arduous political process, it affords a basis on which the Syrians can get together, and as firm a foundation for a Syrian national organization as can be obtained. The mandatory power will possess in this program a commitment to liberal government which will be found to be very valuable in starting the new state in the right direction.
(a) The Commission did not endeavor to give thorough hearings in this region, feeling that it is not seriously to be considered a part of Syria, and desiring not to open up as yet the question of the Turkish-speaking portion of the former Turkish Empire.
(b) The population statistics vary considerably, but there can be no doubt of a marked Moslem majority in Cilicia before the war, now probably somewhat increased.
2. Wishes of the People
(a) The Turks here, like most of those heard previously, wish to retain Turkish unity under the house of Osman, and leave the question of what shall be the Mandatory Power, if any, to the Turkish Government at Constantinople.
(b) The Arabs (who are mainly Turkish-speaking, but are chiefly Nusairiyeh or Alouites) ask for union with Syria under a French mandate.
(d) The other Christians, a small minority are mostly for France, particularly the Greeks who are working in close relation with the French in the northern regions of Turkey.
(c) The Armenians (who are also chiefly Turkish-speaking) ask for the union of Cilicia with Armenia under an American mandate.
(d) The other Christians, a small minority, are mostly for France, particularly the Greeks who are working in close relation with the French in the northern regions of Turkey.
It was impossible for the Commission to visit Mesopotamia at this time. Earnest requests to make such a visit were presented at Damascus and Aleppo, accompanied by complaints that the British occupying forces are restricting freedom of speech, movement, and political action, and that they show signs of an intention to allow extensive immigration from India, to the great detriment of the rights and interests of the inhabitants of the region.
A committee at Aleppo presented a program for Mesopotamia which parallels closely the "Damascus Program" for Syria. An abstract of their claims follows:
1. Mesopotamia should be completely independent, including Diarbekir, Deir-ez-Zor, Mosul, Bagdad, and Muhammerah.
2. The Government should be a constitutional civil kingdom.
3. The king should be a son of the King of the Hejaz, either Abdullah or Zeid.
4. Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations is protested against.
5. No outside government should interfere in the country.
6. After the recognition of independence technical and economical assistance is to be asked for from America
7. Objection is raised to all immigration and especially to that of Hindus and Jews.
8. The complete independence of Syria is asked for.
9. It is asked that there be no interference of France in Syria.
It will be noticed that conformably to the custom of all nascent nations, wide boundaries are claimed, which would involve difficulties with adjacent areas, such as Deir-ez-Zor with Syria, Diarbekir with Armenia, and Muhammerah with Persia.
The Orthodox [Nestorian?-Ed.] Syrian Patriarch, from Der Zafran, near Mardin, met the Commission at Homs. He stated that 90,000 of his people were slain in 1915; when the British came in 1918, all were willing to submit to their rule; but emissaries came from Constantinople to stir up the Kurds and Arabs in favor of independence, and now the situation is much worse, the area occupied by his people should go with Mesopotamia, under the mandate of either America or Britain.
The entire data have been given, thus so fully as to make it possible to test at every point the legitimacy of the inference drawn from the data, and of the final recommendations for action by the Peace Conference.
Further data from our final inference and recommendations were afforded by comprehensive reports of the entire survey, made by all three advisers. The recommendations of the Commissioners have thus been shaped in the light of surveys made from different points of view, and taking into account a wide range of considerations-local, national racial, and religious considerations both of principle and of practical policy; and of the world's dire need of a peace everywhere justly and so permanently based.